What!? Series 2 of Shadowrun was actually released!? Well, apparently it was, though it would appear only very sparingly. The handful of stores that carried the first series around where I am still have some of the figures on the shelf. Clearly, the first line didn't do too well - and who is surprised? Interesting figures with an elaborate game system all for the low price of $14.99... these things were too much of a game for toy-enthusiasts and too much of an action figure for game enthusiasts. Then you add in the rather high price and we are left thinking it was a promising idea but executed with the wrong approach. I wasn't very surprised to not see the second or third series' shown at Toy Fair this year.
However, I think that the line greatly improved with each successive series and honestly I think a contributing factor to the failure of the line which cannot be ignored is mediocre character/figure selection for the first line. At any rate, Series 2's Kross was the figure that made me take an interest in Shadowrun. There's something about a monster in a business suit that just seems inherantly cool to me.
Kross refers to himself as the new face of organized crime. He dresses to the nines, keeps himself immaculately groomed and speaks with precise diction, choosing his words carefully. He has a comfortable lifestyle, is appreciated by his superiors, and enjoys rubbing shoulders with the high-and-mighty friends and clients of the Bigio family. He has a good life, and he is willing to fight to keep it.
Kross is certainly of the same "race" as G-Dogg from Series 1. In fact the two have a lot in common – they're essentially the same sculpt. Both share the same two sets of hands and the same torso, waist, legs and feet. The only new pieces added to Kross are a new head (of course), new "suited" arms and a soft PVC suit-jacket piece over the torso. The jacket is glued closed, but with a little shimmy-ing of it you can see the same sculptural elements that are on G-Dogg.
Speaking of sculpture, that's where this figure, and indeed the whole line, excels. These are, in my opinion, the best post-ReSaurus work by Plan B that I'm aware off. The level of detail is only matched by the level of subtlety in which it is sometime used: for example the "horns" on Kross' elbows or the back-tech that can be noticed under the jacket. Then of course there is the excellent wrinkle-work and the hyper-detail in Kross's skin – complete with patches of hair, veins, warts, and horns.
As for articulation, this figure has the perfect amount. Enough for varied playability and cool poseability, but so much as to make the figure not only unable to stand or hold accessories but also that make the entire figure look like some sort of bastardized Lego Technic set. Kross has "rocking" ankles, knees, T-crotch, peg waist, neck, balljointed shoulders and wrists.
Accessories come aplenty, to boot. Sadly, though, most are in the form of bizarre dice (of which there are a total of 12), a long, weird, coiled tape-measure type thing, and a bunch of worthless gamer stuff. There is also a giant base that is essentially a huge Heroclix base that is cool only in that it can open up to store stuff.
The real accessories include a removable bullet-proof vest, two handguns, a headset and some sort of odd but cool handgun plus automatic magazine. Not to mention a second set of hands. One of the things they did with the Shadowrun figures was to put pegs in their hands and holes in their weapons, so that the accessory can be "easily" (I assume) held.
Ultimately, though, this feature becomes quite silly since the pegs typical only come on the open hands, hence creating a sense of hovering next to, as opposed to being held by the hands. And since most of these guns (which generally don't fit too well into the closed or gripping hands) won't be placed in the open hands, the guns, etc, all have awkward holes in their handles.
I'm not a gamer at all so I can only see the game pieces and stuff and anscillirary nonsense that just drives up the price point. The base is fine, but what's with all the dice and stuff? Like I said earlier - too much game to be a toy and too much toy to be a game. The figures are really good though and the truly sad part is that each series got cooler and cooler looking.
The real tragedy of Shadowrun is that the third series won't be coming out that had some really, really cool stuff in it. What I would like to see is Plan B strike a deal with Wizkids to release the third series independently and as just straight action figures. Wizkids could then sell all of the game stuff themselves as a sort of exclusive. These figures are awfully cool to not be in the hands of collectors and fans, but the price point needs to be drastically shifted down.
Would you be more into the Shadowrun figures without all the game crap? Tell us on our messageboard, The Loafing Lounge.